Gemma McCluskie trial: “Feasible” that brother has no memory of killing

15:26 23 January 2013

Gemma McCluskie. Picture: Metropolitan Police

Gemma McCluskie. Picture: Metropolitan Police

It is “feasible” that the brother of Gemma McCluskie has no memory of killing her or dismembering her body, an expert has said.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Tony McCluskie in the dock at the Old Bailey. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA WireCourt artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Tony McCluskie in the dock at the Old Bailey. Picture: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

Professor Michael Kopelman told the jury in the trial of Tony McCluskie that memory gaps could occur in “emotional” violent crimes involving family members.

McCluskie, 35, admits killing his sister but denies murder, saying he has no recollection of what happened after he grabbed her.

Gemma’s torso was found in a suitcase in the Regent’s Canal in east London, followed by her limbs in plastic bags. Her head was found six months later.

The 29-year-old, who played Kerry Skinner, the niece of Ethel Skinner, in EastEnders in 2001, was officially identified by dental records.

Prof Kopelman, an expert in neuropsychiatry at the University of London, assessed McCluskie while he was in custody at Belmarsh Prison following his arrest.

Asked by defence barrister Jeremy Dein QC whether it was feasible that the defendant had “genuine amnesia”, Prof Kopelman told the Old Bailey: “It is feasible that this may be the case.

“It commonly gets reported where the crime takes place in a state of emotional arousal, unpremeditated and unplanned and the victim is a wife, partner, relative, someone close to the defendant.”

He added: “There are things that have reminiscent characteristics of the literature on these cases, but there have been inconsistencies in his account and there was a delay in reporting his amnesia.”

Prof Kopelman said memory gaps in violent offenders usually lasted up to an hour but there had been some cases of up to 36 hours.

During his assessment, McCluskie claimed he could not remember anything after grabbing his sister’s wrists on March 1, 2011 - the day she was killed - until the morning of March 3.

The defendant had shown symptoms of “mild moderate depression” on March 1, which had since progressed to “serious depression” during his time in custody, Prof Kopelman said.

McCluskie said he suffered blackouts “infrequently” after drinking heavily and regularly smoking a strong form of cannabis, the court heard.

Completing his evidence at the Old Bailey today, McCluskie said he thinks about his sister every day.

“There’s not a minute of the day I don’t think about my sister,” he said.

“I miss my sister so much.”

The trial continues.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

The dullest of dull affairs, but Manchester City showed they’re still in the title fight.

Read more

It’s not just about new apps this week, some of the biggest have had updates that are worth your time.

Read more

Promoted content

Valentine's Day Afternoon Tea

London Hilton on Park Lane is inviting couples to celebrate this Valentines Day over a deliciously romantic afternoon tea at Podium Restaurant and Bar. Taking inspiration from the highly popular Confessions of a Chocoholic Afternoon Tea, London Hilton on Park Lane presents the ultimate romantic afternoon out with its Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea.

Established in 1987, Tucci is one of the North's premier stores for branded clothing, footwear and accessories.

Save up to 70% on designer brands for Men and Women, including G-Star, Diesel, French Connection, Firetrap and many more….our sale is now on.

Nothing says

iWOOT has a great selection of quirky Valentine’s Day gifts for every possible person and partner.

People thought the Deputy Prime Minister was pretty funny actually.

Brothers: The David Haines Story, will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland at 10.30am on Sunday.

Over £30,000 has been raised in a couple of days for a mugging victim, despite the goal only being set at £500.

Quirky London